MR. JEEM LIPPWE,
PERMANENT MISSION OF
THE FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ON AGENDA ITEM 34:
OCEANS AND THE LAW OF THE SEA
New York, October 28, 2000
Check Against Delivery
At the outset, I would like, on behalf of the Federated States of
Micronesia delegation, to associate ourselves with the statements
made earlier by the distinguished representative of Samoa on behalf
of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), and by the
distinguished representative of Tonga on behalf of the Pacific Island
Forum countries at the United Nations (SOPAC).
Thank you Mr. President, for convening this meeting on such an
important and vital subject. My delegation is very grateful to the
diligent work of the Secretary-General and welcomes his report on
this agenda item. We acknowledge also the very important work carried
out by the Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea.
Since we last discussed this agenda item in the 54th session of
this United Nations Assembly, we are pleased to note significant
progress in this area. In particular, the successful convening of the
United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and
the Law of the Sea at its first meeting earlier this year is a
significant achievement and a step in the right direction for the
United Nations in its efforts to review developments in the area of
ocean affairs. The member states of this United Nations must continue
to lend their support to this process if we are to achieve true and
meaningful discussions on an important common heritage of mankind -
the oceans and seas.
My delegation also welcomes the signing of the Convention on the
Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the
Western and Central Pacific Ocean, made pursuant to the Agreement for
the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention
on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the
Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly
Migratory Fish Stocks. Implementation of this new Convention ensures
the rational conservation, management, and thus sustainability of
migratory fish stocks in the Convention Area.
My delegation commends the cooperation and goodwill shown by our
fellow Pacific Island nations in the negotiations of the Convention.
Most notable is the participation of small island countries like my
own. For them participation constitutes a great compromise of
exclusive rights previously gained through the EEZ regime of UNCLOS.
Also, for many, if not all of the small island parties, the resource
over which they are sharing exclusive rights with others is the
single most economically significant one; and it is the only resource
over which our economic future can be assured. In cooperating and
even sacrificing that our other fellowmen would benefit, we hope that
others would also cooperate with us by paying greater attention to
the many plights of small island countries.
My delegation knows too well the significance that the ocean plays
in the lives of our own people. Our history began in the days when
man explored seas in rafts and canoes. We, who remain, continue to
rely heavily on the bounties of the ocean and are proud guardians of
this heritage - the Pacific Ocean - for our common humanity.
Despite all the efforts undertaken by the international community,
the state of ocean affairs remains precarious. Indiscriminate
destruction of the ocean resources by large-scale pelagic drift-net
fishing, while generally is on a decline, still remains a threat to
marine living resources. This is in clear contravention of the terms
of the moratorium agreed to by the international community in
Resolution 46/215. We call upon States that have not done so to take
immediate and effective measures to ban illegal drift-net
The incidence of unauthorized fishing in zones of national
jurisdictions and on the high seas, and illegal, unreported and
unregulated fishing (IUU) continue to be of concern to my delegation.
The vast exclusive economic zone under my country's jurisdiction,
rich in fish resources and one of the principle resources for the
economic development of my country requires careful management and
monitoring to address illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. My
country, like any other small island developing state, simply cannot
act alone but requires the cooperation of other States to take
greater enforcement measures to ensure that their vessels do not fish
in areas of national jurisdiction. To maximize effectiveness, States
must ensure that even when their vessels are authorized to fish in
areas of national jurisdictions, they must comply with the terms of
that authorization. We support the resolution now before this
Assembly on large scale pelagic drift-net fishing, unauthorized
fishing in zones of national jurisdiction and on the high seas,
fisheries by catch and discards, and other developments, and we urge
all delegations to actively support the resolution.
Having made this plea, my delegation would like to note its
concern over the issue of fisheries by catch and discards. While by
catch and discards are understandably a result of untargeted or
incidental catches, call them collateral victims of fishing methods
if you will, the issue is nevertheless one that deserves a greater
focus of attention. Some of the fish species that usually constitute
by catches and discards are important to the daily diet of island
people, especially the smaller species which are easily catchable.
What may be discarded by some as unsuitable for commercial mass
consumption, they are actually important to the subsistence
livelihood of island people. Therefore, we should not squander this
God-given food resource just because it ends up in the wrong net.
Instead, the international community should strive stronger to
minimize the incidence of collateral catches in fisheries in order to
conserve resources and ensure biodiversity.
We are encouraged by the heightened international attention to the
need of small island developing states in their capacity building
process. Key to increasing the effectiveness of the United Nations
and the international community in dealing comprehensively with ocean
issues, is strengthening the capacities of these countries who
together control a vast portion of the earth's ocean. We note the
call by the resolutions before us for the establishment of trust
funds to provide training for technical and administrative staff,
particularly of the least developed countries and small island
States, as well as to facilitate their participation at the meetings
of the Consultative Process. We suggest that assistance must not be
limited to the attendance at the Consultative Process, but should
include other Law of the Sea bodies like the International Sea-Bed
Authority where meetings continued to be sparingly attended by small
island States due to financial difficulties. As stewards and
stakeholders of these resources our participation in these processes
is a critical element if we are to effectively combat the many
taunting issues affecting our world's ocean.
My delegation welcomes also the use of the Trust Funds to assist
small island States in their submissions to the Commission on the
Limits of Continental Shelf. As a small island State with meager
resources and limited technical know-how, my country requires the
assistance of the international community both in terms of financial
and technical support to meet its obligations under the UNCLOS. We
therefore call upon the generous support of the developed countries
and donor community to contribute financially or otherwise to the
Last but not least, and noting the significant trend towards
universal participation and adherence to the legal regime established
by UNCLOS, we reiterate the call by many delegations before us for
those States that have not ratified UNCLOS to do so.
As the United Nations continues to seek effective means to
preserve an important heritage of mankind, our ability to do so
successfully depends to a large extent on the ratification and
implementation of UNCLOS and its associated instruments.
Thank you, Mr. President.